Archive for July, 2009

During our months of separation, it was very easy to focus on working my program. However as ML and I are working towards a partnership, I am finding it more difficult to establish what really falls in the realm of “my” recovery. For example, I find myself anticipating his triggers – avoiding certain situations that *I* assume will be triggering for him (i.e. the beach, parties, movies). Though this isn’t a blatant form of control, I am still holding myself responsible for identifying ML’s triggers – something that he needs to take responsibility for. Another area I am having trouble with is establishing my boundary around his active participation (which is a MUST for me) in a recovery program, without dictating what “active” participation entails. For instance, does working an active program consist of attending 2 or 3 meetings a week? Do you reach out to your sponsor once, twice or three times a week? Do you go to therapy every week or every other week? I don’t want to dictate these things, but I am not foolish in believing that he can be in recovery without them. It’s important that he work his programs, but the who, what, when, where and how’s are for him to decide.

I have been working my program long enough to know that I am powerless over my husband. However, I realize that if this relationship is to ever work, we will both need to maintain our stability in our own recovery programs. If one individual is wobbly in recovery, the relationship as a whole will be less likely to succeed. The best I can do is make sure that I am stable in recovery and pray that my husband is doing the same. A fellow S-Anoner said in our meeting that our relationship with our spouse can be best represented by a triangle shape, where God is at the top of the triangle, and where we are at opposite corners from our spouse. We both have our own separate paths to recovery; but the closer we get to God, the closer we grow together as a couple. As long as I keep relying on my HP and working my program, I can rest assured that his, mine and our recovery will be headed in the same direction – to closer a relationship with our Higher Power and ultimately, with each other.

Check out the Cirque Du Soleil – Couple Balancing Act. It’s truly magical! (**Warning: This clip can be potentially triggering for sex addicts and their partners**)

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I ran into this video today during my daily blog roll and it really brought a smile to my face (and a tear to my eyes) – I just had to share! Sometimes, I forget how wonderful love, weddings and all that gushy stuff can be. It’s not only about the big wedding day celebration, registries and the diamond ring.  It’s about finding that one person that truly loves ALL of you (even the dorky side) and keeps you laughing and dancing for years to come.  Enjoy! 

Enjoy the Weekend!!!

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There’s not much going on at the moment. Actually, more like a lot of “nothingness”. Or at least that’s how I feel. ML and I decided to continue with our plans to move back in together in August. The trip was clearly a rude awakening for the both of us. Though ML clearly crossed a boundary during said trip, I also found myself slipping into some very dangerous waters in his absence. There has been a vast disconnect between us, and the rift keeps getting wider with each passing day. At this point, I don’t believe prolonging the separation will do either of us any good. It is definitely not making the heart grow fonder. So, we continue with our plans for reconciling in the hopes that things will eventually clear up, and we may finally see what God has in store for us. Because we’ve decided to move forward with our plans, we are also in the search for a new apartment. Our current apartment is way too triggering to allow for a proper fresh start. I hope a geographical cure will help lessen the emotional baggage. We need as many positive things working in our favor as possible.

As far as my personal life goes, work is a big ball of BLAH! I haven’t been happy with my job for a very long time. I initially came to work at this firm as part of a team transition. My boss and I took a leap of faith into these unfamiliar waters. Now, I’m getting the sense that she will be leaving the company (on her own) to pursue other business endeavors. And though she has informed me of possible opportunities with the new company, it would not be a “team transition” like it was the last time. So there is the very big possibility that she will be leaving without me and moving on to bigger and better things. Though I understand her motives in moving (she’s not closing enough sales to sustain her family), this feels very reminiscent of the time ML left our home (our joint venture) – leaving me behind with the bulk of the load and an overwhelming sense of abandonment.

Still, I refuse to let these changes drag me down. I believe I’ve been left behind in these murky waters so that I may find my own path ashore. I realize that these new developments are probably for the best – for me and the others around me. Things have been on hold in my life for quite some time – first with my sister’s arrival and then with the sex addiction discovery. Life has been going on without me, and that was appropriate at the time; I needed to put the brakes on everything and untangle the mess in my life. However, I’m finally prepared to step in line with the rest of the world and start exploring my full potential – in my career, relationships and within myself – to see what God has in store for me next.

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One of my guilty pleasures is Gwenyth Paltrow’s weekly lifestyle newsletter, GOOP.  Hey!  A girl needs reading materials for the long work week, no? Plus, there’s always great recipes, reviews and how-to’s. It’s also given me great ideas in my quest for self -care. This week the newsletter was about relationships, but most importantly, about how to sustain a happy and successful marriage.  Several professionals shared their insights, but I found this particular response by psychologist Dr. Karen Binder-Byrnes most intriguing since I’ve been actively exploring what it is that I want out of my relationships – now or in the future. Check out an excerpt from the newsletter below:

If any of us had the true answer to the exact and “true” ingredients that make for a happy and healthy long-term relationship/marriage, we would probably win a Nobel Prize for helping humanity. However, since this is an age-old question with no one definitive answer, we can only use our past experiences in the helping professions, as well as drawing on the wisdom of seers and sages from a variety of disciplines, to attempt to address this issue. Kahlil Gibran in his essay on marriage states, “Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping; For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together; For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Over the years, I have worked with many couples before, during and even after their relationships have ended. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from my work and my own relationships is that “what you see is what you get.” People often fall in love and continue relationships into marriage believing that they will be able to change the other. This is interesting because we are often drawn to our mates initially because they are different from us, only to find that once we are embedded, we want the other to change to be more like us. Respect for who your partner is in the beginning of your connection is essential. A professor of mine in college once stated, “there is no such thing as potential.” I agree in terms of picking partners.

Once in a relationship or marriage, respect, empathy and giving to the other is paramount. If each partner in a relationship is dedicated to helping their mate grow, evolve and flourish without trying to control, limit or damper the other’s spirit, the couple will thrive and expand in their love.

Trust is essential. I don’t just mean physical fidelity, but rather trust in all realms of life. One should feel that they can fall backwards and have loving, nonjudgmental arms to catch them. This also includes dependability, responsibility and accountability to each other.

The sexual connection in a relationship is a beautiful gift, which should never be taken for granted. Although the sexuality in a long relationship may ebb and flow throughout the lifespan of the connection, a couple should work on the dance of their physicality in whatever form it takes at each stage.

Wherever possible, finding mutual experiences to share and enjoy is essential. Finding time to nurture and water the relationship will always cause the garden of love to flourish.

A relationship or marriage should be a safe harbor in life’s ocean, a place to find one’s bliss. Joseph Campbell, in discussing marriage states, “That is the sense of the marriage vow – I take you in health and sickness, in wealth or poverty; going up and going down. But I take you as my center, and you are my bliss, not the wealth you may bring me, not the social prestige, but you. That is following your bliss.”

Thank you.
Dr. Karen Binder-Brynes

You can continue reading the remainder of the newsletter here.

To sign up for the GOOP newsletter, click here.

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Shame on Me

As if things couldn’t get any more complicated, my parents have managed to screw me over once again. At some point, I need to start questioning whether I’m exclusively to blame for all the bad things that happen to me. Remember, how I paid for my parent’s emergency trip? Well, I did this by giving them my Visa Debit card number (since I was not with them at the time of the booking). So today, some “mystery” charge posts to my account in the amount of $600. After a lot of time and research to figure out the origin for the mysterious charge, through the vendor, I came to learn that the transaction was for a plane ticket for my stepfather’s sister-in-law. In addition, there was another $600 pending for tickets for his brother as well!! I tried calling my parents, but they have yet to return my phone calls.

Now, I will have to go through the hassle of reporting the fraudulent transaction, waiting for my account to be made whole (who knows how long that will take!) and being without a bank card for a week (I was not expecting the $600 debit so I have no money for food, gas, anything – and of course, I’m still sitting the kids!). Not to mention, the overdraft fees that will eventually be charged to my account. My question is WHY would my parents continue to screw me over like this? And more importantly, WHY would I put myself in situations where they could do just that?! It’s like I don’t learn my lesson the first, second or tenth time they do this to me. It’s not even about the money. It’s about the lack of consideration or care for my well-being. At this point, I’m not even angry (as I should be), I’m just numb. Shame on me for doubting their ability to disappoint time and time again.

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So much has happened since my last post. Earlier last week, things took an “interesting” turn with ML. I was on the verge of making a rash decision when all hell broke loose with my family. Right after the turn of events with ML, my stepfather was hospitalized. I missed work the following day to be of assistance to my parents while they stayed overnight at the hospital. Luckily, all the tests came back perfectly normal. Sanity was somewhat restored. I also met up with ML’s therapist (for the first time) and my therapist in order to discuss the next few months. I’m glad I was able to talk to both sides of the equation and get their input. I’m feeling more comfortable with the way things are shaping at the moment. In addition, I finally told to my mother about our separation, though I did not share the reasons surrounding it. She was saddened and urged me to try to work things out with him. I told her our marriage has hit a very rough patch, but that we welcome all her prayers. She promised to pray for us. And just like that, the secret was out and a big burden was lifted from shoulders. I was also amazed at the outpouring of love and support from my group, online and “real world” friends during the week. I’m so blessed to have such an incredible support team rallying around me!

But alas, when it rains, it pours. Just when things started to calm down, on Friday we received the terrible news that my stepfather’s father passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest overseas. Since my parents filed for bankruptcy, they no longer have credit cards to pay for this emergency trip overseas. Of course, I stepped in to help with their expenses, flight arrangements and childcare. So after a whirlwind few days, my parents have left the country, I am short almost $2K and I’ve been put in charge of a rambunctious preteen and a too –grown-for- her- own -good teenager for the next two weeks. Because of all the chaos, my issues with ML have taken a seat in the back burner. In a way, I’m thankful these events with my family prevented me from making yet another crazy decision in reaction to ML’s actions. Despite my rant last week, I am not ready to let my marriage go. However, I realize that I can’t want this badly enough for the both of us, ML needs to want this too. And his commitment to the relationship/marriage will show itself in time.

Needless to say, you’ll be hearing very little from me in the next few weeks. Between babysitting my siblings and figuring out my next move, I will have very little time to update my blog or touch base with my fellow bloggers. However, I will still keep you all in my thoughts and I hope you keep me, ML and my family in your thoughts as well. Thanks again for all the support and I hope you all continue to have a wonderful summer!

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Dear God

I find myself broken into a million little pieces. 
I am emotionally depleted. 
I can’t do this anymore. 
I don’t want this anymore. 
I’ve been holding on to dear life and I know it’s time to let go. 
It’s time to accept the truth – the relationship is over.
Deep down inside I know this.
I just need to summon up the strength to let it rest.
I feel like I’m holding on to my marriage like a corpse. 
But holding it close to me will not bring it back to life.
It will not change the fact that it’s dead – and it has been dead for sometime now. 
As a matter of fact, the longer I hold on to it, 
the stench becomes more and more unbearable.
Everyone can see it’s dead, yet I refuse to accept this reality.
Only You know how hard I’ve tried. 
I’ve tried to find forgiveness, and compassion for ML.
I tried to give our relationship yet another chance
despite his many transgressions. 
I’ve been willing to rearrange my life, family and future
in the hope that it could work out between us. 
But unfortunately, it was never up to me to decide. 
I need your help to summon up all the courage,
love and strength for the task that awaits me. 
You know HOW MUCH I love this man. 
I love him with every fiber of my being. 
I love him to the point that I’ve been willing to hurt myself time and time again.
But now, I need you to show me how to love myself in that same manner. 
I can’t continue to reopen these wounds because every day a piece of my soul dies.
I need to stop placing Band-Aids over this gangrenous wound
because it needs to be surgically removed. 
And you’re the only skilled physician who can remove this toxic limb from me. 
I need your guidance in this. 
Please help me.
It hurts like hell.

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